11 July 2012

Ag. Andreas of Nauplion

Possibly a representation of Ag. Nicholaos and its bell tower on the highest point on Acro-Nauplion.
From the Camoccio map, the oldest surviving image of Nauplion, 1571,
based on images from 1531-40.  

I have recently noticed entries in a chronicle * which seem to give fragments of information I have not noticed mentioned elsewhere.  Here are the  two chronicle entries:

32: 10.     1262 Sept. --1263 Aug. /6771 (ind. 6)
τὸ δὲ ἱερὸν Εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ ἁγίου Ἀνδρέως ὃ ἔχει νῦν, ἐποσηνέχθη εἰς (τὴν) πόλιν Ναυπλίου τῷ ,ςψοα’ ἔτει παρὰ Δημητρίου ἀναγνώστη τοῦ Χαβούρη.
The holy gospel of Ag. Andreas, which it has now, was presented to the city of Nauplion in the year 677 by Demetrios Chavouris, the reader.

32: 35.     1420/6929 (Ind. 14) Dec. 17, Tuesday
ἔτους ,ςϠκγ’, ἡμέρᾳ δ’, δεκεβρίῳ ιζ´, ἐγένετο χειμὼν φοβερός, πλῆθος βροχῆς καὶ συνοχὴ βροντῶν καὶ ἀστραπῶν ἐν τῳ Ναύπλιν. καὶ ἐχάλασεν ὁ νάρθηξ τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἀνδρέως καὶ μνημεῖα ἠνεῴχθησαν καὶ ἡ καμπάνα ἔπεσεν καὶ σημεῖα ἐγίνοντο εἰ τοὺς τοίχους καὶ εἰς τὰς πόρτας ὡς ἀπὸ ξίφους.
In 6929, the fourth day, December 17, there was a fearful winter storm in Nauplion, much rain and continuous thunder and lightning, and the narthex of Ag. Andreas was destroyed, tombs were shattered, and the bells fell, and marks appeared on the walls and doors as if by swords. 

It seems there was a Gospel of Andrew, and an Acts of Andrew -- or possibly they were two names for the same thing -- firmly rejected before 500 AD by Pope Gelasius in a Decretum Galasium.  It is a third-century text, loaded with violence, even nasty in places:
A woman, Calliopa, married to a murderer, had an illegitimate child and suffered in travail. She told her sister to call on Diana for help; when she did so the devil appeared to her at night and said: 'Why do you trouble me with vain prayers? Go to Andrew in Achaia.' . . . Andrew said to Calliopa: 'You deserve to suffer for your evil life: but believe in Christ, and you will be relieved, but the child will be born dead.' And so it was.
 A manuscript copy of one of the Andrews appears to have been presented in 1262 -- the chronicle says -- to the city of Nauplion rather than to a church.  1262 is a date firmly in the Frankish occupation of Nauplion, and a year after the retaking of Constantinople by the Greeks. Nauplion had probably never heard of  Pope Gelasius. 

Did the Nauplion Franks and Greeks then build a church in honor of Ag. Andreas? The The 1420 chronicle entry describes a terrific winter storm in which the bells of Ag. Andreas fell, which means a bell tower, which means it was a Latin church.  The Camoccio map (detail above, possibly) shows a small church with a large bell tower on the highest point of Acro-Nauplion.  Camoccio got this detail from a picture by someone else, and nearly all of the churches in his picture,  all the rest on the lower level, with the exception of a couple outside the walls, have bell towers, and are of Western design   I don't think we can put too much weight on his representations: they are stock map churches, and we don't even know if the bell tower was rebuilt. 

I would expect the bell tower to have been at the western end of the church, beside the narthex, since those were the parts of the church most damaged.  But whenever Panagopoulos shows a church plan in her book on Frankish churches in Greece,** the bell tower is built into the structure beside the apse, as it is here in Ag. Nikolaos of Chania.

 Parenthetically, it is striking that the Franks followed two primary forms of church-construction in Greece -- those in the almost-Byzantine style with rounded apses  such as those at Merbaka, Agia Moni, and Chonika, and those with a squared-off apse like all but one in this collection from Panagopoulos, which seem to be the kind Camocio shows.

Frankish churches in Greece -- all conventual churches. Top: Andravida, Isova, Zaraka. 
Bottom: St. Mark Candia; Ag. Pareskevi Chalkis; St. Salvador Chania & St. Salvador Candia;
St. Peter Martyr Candia; 

St. Mary of the Crusaders & St. Francis Chania; St. Nicholas Chania & Belle Paix Cyprus.

These are, as I said, fragments of information, and I cannot now get any further, but they are worth paying attention to.  It is probably not relevant that Nauplion had a bishop, listed in the rolls of Latin bishops, named Andreas in the late 9th century. 

* Peter Schreiner, Kleinchroniken (Vienna 1975) Vol. 1.
** Beata Kitsiki Panagopoulos, Cistercian and Mendicant Monasteries in Medieval Greece (Chicago 1979).


  1. Diana: The 'bell tower' at the east end often appears in smaller parish churches in modern-day France, then Champenois and Burgundian territories of the majority Franks' homelands. See my article, "Syncretism Made Concrete" in Archaeology in Architecture (2005) ed. J. Emerick and D. Deliyannis (on academia.edu, link below), and book-in-progress, Building Identity. They are not though always bell towers, but often stair towers leading to some upper-level space.

  2. Very nice to know. Thank you. Article printing out now.

  3. At the lower left-hand corner of the bottom illustration of plans is the Dominican priory church of Negropont, known through the 13th-15th centuries either as the church of St. Mary or the church of St Dominic.
    Panagopoulou, in 1979, saw this as the parish church of Ayia Paraskevi but it has since been shown to be a Dominican house dating from 1249. In 1884, George Lambakis, in an all too little-known article in the periodical Ebdomas “ Ἡ ἐν Χαλκίδι Βασιλικὴ τῆς Αγίας Παρασκευῆς,” in Ἑβδομάς I, B, (Φύλλον), Athens, 23 September 1844, 267—68, wrote at length about the significance of the bell-tower in what he strongly maintained was a “basilica of the 13th century,” and he expressed his surprise and delight that it had survived from the Crusader period in such good condition. The present bell-tower is a replacement for one that was often brought down by earthquakes, but its position, supported by the late 14th century chapel of Pietro Lippomano, indicates its original form. It was used as a minaret after the conversion of the church to serve as the Mosque of the the Conqueror in 1470, a use that Evliya Celebi found significant (Seyahatname, VIII,248b,1-4).
    See: http://washington.academia.edu/PierreMacKay/Papers/1576487/SS._Mary_and_Dominic_Ayia_Paraskevi_The_unique_unaltered_13th-century_Dominican_priory_church_in_Negropont

  4. The overlong url in the previous commentary can be reached at


I will not publish Anonymous comments.